American History

Explore the development of the United States with this collection of articles about American history. Topics in this section include the American Revolution, the gold rush and the expansion of the West.

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What's in a Nickname? The State Nickname Quiz

It's hard to sum up something as big as a state in just a few words, but that doesn't stop them from trying! What does it mean to be from the 'Show-Me' state or to be a Sooner? Find out how vast your state nickname knowledge is with our quiz!

The O.K. Corral: The Gunfight of All Gunfights

This infamous gun battle in Tombstone, Arizona lasted just 30 seconds. But its legend, and America's obsession, has endured for more than a decade.

Who Were the Mighty Fighting Buffalo Soldiers?

The African American servicemen known as "Buffalo Soldiers" are the subjects of both history and legend, but what is truth and what is lore?

The Rise and Fall of the Oregon Trail

Hundreds of thousands of emigrants traveled the 2,170-mile Oregon Trail in search of a better life. And thousands of them were injured — and even died — on the journey along the way.

The Ghosts of Gettysburg's Devil's Den

Devil's Den was the site of the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War. Not surprisingly, it's rumored to be haunted with the ghosts of many dead soldiers.

The Missing States of the United States

There are 50 states in the U.S., but there have been many proposals over the years to add more.

5 Causes of the Great Depression: Could It Happen Again?

The Great Depression may seem like ancient history, but many of the factors that contributed to it still pose economic risks today.

Things Are Indeed Bigger in Texas

The saying is really true. Texas is big. And so is everything in it.

Frederick Douglass' North Star Newspaper Relaunched

Frederick Douglass' pivotal 19th century abolitionist newspaper has been relaunched for a 21st century audience.

The 'Green Book' Was a Lifeline for Black Travelers

Before the 1964 Civil Rights Act and even after it, the tradition of the "great American road trip" was very different for families of color.

What's Inside Mount Rushmore's Not-So-Secret Chamber?

Yep – there is a hidden space behind those famous presidential faces.

Who Built These Mysterious Concrete Arrows?

The last vestiges of America's early transcontinental airmail beacon system still exist as giant arrows across the landscape.

How the U.S.-Mexico Border Became a Political Flashpoint

The roughly 2,000-mile boundary between the countries has been around only since the mid-1800s. But today it's a political line in the sand — literally and figuratively.

Penn Center: A Little-known Haven of the Civil Rights Movement

Penn Center, located on sleepy St. Helena Island in South Carolina, may be the most important African-American historical landmark you probably don't know about.

Why Americans Celebrate Black History Month in February

Does February have special historical significance in African-American history?

Why Isn't William McKinley a More Famous President?

William McKinley was popular, successful, re-elected and assassinated. He shaped money's influence in politics, and transformed the United States into an international power. Why isn't the 25th president better known?

Why the 21st Century Actually Might Have Started in 2007

Was our current era defined by the introduction of the iPhone, the hashtag, and a professional wrestling appearance by a future U.S. president?

Why Didn't Russia Sell Alaska to Canada?

It made geographical sense for Russia to sell its territory of Alaska to Canada, but it opted to sell it to the U.S. instead. But why?

Black Loyalists Fought for Their Freedom During the American Revolution

During America's War for Independence, the British promised enslaved Africans their freedom if they'd join their side. Thousands signed up.

The U.S. Air Force Dropped an Atomic Bomb on South Carolina in 1958

Has a nuclear bomb ever been dropped on the United States? Well, it happened back in the 1950s. But... it was an accident.

Calamity Jane Was a Woman of Many Talents ... And Great at Embellishing

The Wild West legend's life has been romanticized and colored with exaggeration. But that doesn't mean her story isn't fascinating.

How Secret Subs Nearly Caused a Nuclear War During the Cuban Missile Crisis

The tension between the U.S. and USSR was palpable — and nearly devastating, thanks to some nuclear-tipped torpedoes and itchy trigger fingers.

Treasure Hunter Jailed Until He Reveals Location of 3 Tons of Shipwreck Gold

Treasure hunter Tommy Thompson claims he can't remember where he put 3 tons of gold from the shipwreck of the S.S. Central America. The courts don't believe him.

Ridiculous History: A Wild West Governor Wore Shoes of Human Skin

A Wild West governor once wore a pair of shoes made of the skin of an executed felon named Big Nose George. The gruesome but true story is predictably involved.

American Indian Sports Logos Do Real Damage, New Study Finds

Ethnic brand identities and mascots affect people with different political leanings in surprising ways, at times increasing associations with Native American stereotypes.


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